Published: Thu, January 31, 2019
Finance | By Kristine Clayton

Maduro warns USA against military action in Venezuela

Maduro warns USA against military action in Venezuela

Maduro made the offer earlier Wednesday during an interview with Russia's RIA news agency, saying he is willing to sit down at the negotiating table "for the good of Venezuela".

Despite the tensions with Trump, Maduro said he still welcomes USA investment in oil, gas, tourism, technology, gold and diamonds. Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, Salvador and Turkey came out in Maduro's support.

Mr Maduro also accused the U.S. president of ordering a hit on him from Colombia. He said he was aware of Trump's "orders" for the Colombian government and the local mafia to kill him.

Venezuela's Supreme Tribunal of Justice on Tuesday imposed a travel ban on opposition leader Juan Guaido and froze his bank accounts, the president of the court said.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido has declared himself as the country's interim president, drawing support from the United States and a number of its allies and prompting harsh criticism on the part of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who called Guaido a "US puppet".

The Supreme Court, stacked with Maduro loyalists, has approved a preliminary investigation into Guaido's activities.

She said Moscow and Beijing have grown wary of United States and European foreign interventions after their decisions to help topple the governments of Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011.

Maduro also said Russian President Vladimir Putin had promised him more economic and military support during phone talks last week.

Since swearing himself in as the rightful leader of Venezuela on January 23, Guaido has led a campaign to try to wrest control of government assets overseas, including bank accounts, gold holdings, properties and USA refining unit Citgo.

Elliott Abrams, the recently-appointed US envoy for Venezuela, said Washington was looking around the world for more assets of the Maduro government, including gold holdings and bank accounts. In a Monday press briefing, national security adviser John Bolton detailed new sanctions against Venezuela, including against its state-owned oil company.

A former union leader, bus driver and foreign minister, Maduro has overseen a shrinking economy and the migration of 3 million Venezuelans fleeing shortages and hyperinflation.

Under Venezuela's constitution, the head of the National Assembly is empowered to take on the duties of the chief executive under a range of circumstances in which the presidency is vacated.

The opposition argues Mr Maduro's re-election last May was a sham.

Mr Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo all issued statements proclaiming USA recognition of Mr Guaido and saying the U.S. would take all diplomatic and economic measures necessary to support a transition to a new government.

Describing himself as an admirer of U.S. history, Maduro said that he hopes that reasonable USA citizens will prevail, adding that America "is a great country, and it is much more than Donald Trump".

Pro-government demonstrators also marched in the capital, at times crossing paths with opposition protesters and shouting "sell outs" and "traitors".

Some European countries, including Britain, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and France on January 26 said they would recognize Guaido as interim president if Maduro refused to call early elections within eight days.

More than 40 people are believed to have been killed in political violence last week, including 26 shot by pro-Government forces, five killed in house raids and 11 during looting, United Nations human rights spokesman Rupert Colville said.

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